Second hand boat review: Seaward 42

Second hand boat review: Seaward 42

The solid, seaworthy, round-bilged Seaward 42 is built to take rough conditions in its stride. We take a 2016 example out for a drive

The difference between leisure boaters and the operators of commercial craft is akin to the difference between amateurs and professionals.

That statement is not intended to be disrespectful to leisure boaters in any way. The point is simply that while professionals work in all weathers to prescribed deadlines and timescales, no such pressure is imposed upon amateur mariners, who have the freedom to look at the conditions and to either go out or stay at home.

It follows then that the development of the most rugged and robust craft tends to be driven by professionals – by those whose livelihoods depend on taking to sea in all kinds of exposed and unfavourable weather. But among the amateur fraternity is a group of battle-hardened boaters whose aspirations match those of the professionals. T

These adventure-hungry individuals, and the vessels they choose, inhabit a specialised sector of the market, where the worlds of leisure and commerce overlap.

Spec includes a Quick gyro stabiliser and Humphree Active Ride Control

Buyers who fall into this segment may well be inclined to seek out boats based on the famed Nelson hull – a platform respected the world over for its blend of seaworthiness, strength and safety. While the very first Nelson was a relatively modest 29ft wooden-hulled commuter boat, designed to whisk Leopold Baron de Rothschild from his Beaulieu home to the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes and back, by the mid 1960s, GRP Nelsons of up to 40ft were being built.

The Royal Navy became an enthusiastic supporter, buying several 34ft launches, including two for the Royal Yacht Britannia. It didn’t take long before Trinity House realised that the 40 was ideal for pilot boat operations too. A raft of other discerning operators followed and very soon, this distinctive-looking hull became a common sight on the commercial workboat scene.

Boundless options

While Nelson hulls were initially manufactured by Keith, Nelson & Company of Bembridge, Isle of Wight, many boatyards now employ the Nelson design, adding their own superstructures to the hull. Among them is Seaward, whose 42 – the largest boat it builds – is featured here in the form of Bounder, a 2016 example being offered by Lymington-based Berthon International for £545,000 inc. VAT.

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Seaward groups its boats into three categories: Commercial, Leisure and Custom but all of them are based on Nelson hulls. The 42 sits in the Custom class alongside its 39ft sibling – and as Seaward’s Sales & Marketing Manager Nick Ward explains, when it comes to a bespoke boat capable of handling the toughest conditions, size matters.

“The 19-35ft models in our Leisure range offer relatively limited opportunities for customisation,” says Nick. “But when we get up to 39ft and above, the possibilities for variations in the interior layout and design open up.

Heavyweight build and quality workmanship are evident in every part of the boat

“For example, if you put Bounder alongside Magic, a 39-footer based in the Channel Islands, from the outside you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. But if you went on board, you’d see that Magic has an extended cockpit, much lighter woodwork and is a boat far more keenly tailored to cruising. But the 39 we currently have in build is very different to Magic, with a proper hard top over the back end.”

As for Bounder, that is an out-and-out adventurer with a spec and history to match. Shortly after delivery, she headed for the north of Scotland and then over to Bergen in Norway and the Baltic. Her first owner was a former sailor who required a very particular specification for his travels. Consequently, Bounder has only a vee-berth in the forepeak, a single heads and a large saloon with an extensive galley and plenty of headroom below decks.

Up top, the wheelhouse is relatively short. That enables the superstructure covering the saloon and galley to rise up above deck level, providing extra headroom downstairs. Both the wheelhouse and the aft cockpit are further squeezed by wide side decks which run the entire length of the vessel. And it’s worth noting that, in common with their commercial cousins, these side decks are largely unguarded for much of their length, with just an inner rail mounted on the superstructure to grab or to clip yourself onto.

This particular boat has a pair of extra fuel tanks for a range in the region of 400 miles

Equipped with twin 6.7-litre Cummins QSB 425hp engines, which consume 100 litres of fuel per hour at 18 knots, Bounder is capable of making her way upwind at 25 knots. To give her the extended range her first owner demanded, an extra pair of 410-litre fuel tanks was fitted, raising capacity to 2,701 litres.

When it comes to combating rough passages, the boat is fully loaded, with a Quick gyro stabiliser and Humphree’s Active Ride Control to help balance her Interceptor trim system. We suspect these would be welcome additions for any potential purchaser because while the Nelson is pretty much a go-anywhere hull, the ride experience of a semi-displacement boat is significantly different to that of a planing vessel. Rather than skimming over the waves, Bounder slices her way through them.

The lower galley is really generous with plenty of headroom and work space

Made for two

The boat’s single-cabin accommodation suggests her perfect owners would be a couple. That said, the table in the dinette does drop down to allow a second bed to be made up in the saloon and that is clearly enough for the vessel’s current owners, who moved up from a Botnia Targa 31 in 2021.

“We’ve got two small kids but the sleeping arrangements didn’t really bother us,” they told us. “The heads has got Jack and Jill doors, one from the saloon, the other from the cabin, so again that wasn’t an issue.

The convertible dinette is a very useful feature on a two-berth boat like this

“What attracted us to Bounder in the first place was the spec. Compared to other boats, Bounder is just built differently. It’s like everything has been done properly.

When you close the doors you think, ‘that’s nice’, and the same with the drawers and everything else – the craftsmanship throughout is amazing. And it’s all just so solid; solid is exactly the right word for Bounder. She’s also sound insulated and heat insulated and has everything needed for a journey to the ice or the tropics.

“Also, we just wanted a boat that wasn’t going to go, you know, slamming away. As well as children, we’ve got dogs, and we wanted a boat that goes through the waves, not over them. When the sea trial was arranged, we thought they were going to cancel it because it was 35 knots gusting to 51.

While some will lament the lack of a second cabin, it’s ideal for a cruising couple

“There was no communication saying it was cancelled, so we carried on down to Plymouth, got on the boat, had a cup of tea and were taken out by the owners. I had my cup in my hand, and didn’t even spill it!

“The weather was so bad that the coastguard called to check we weren’t going beyond the breakwater. Although it was really lumpy, the owners were fine with it. There was no panic, no qualms, they took us out as far as the breakwater and we were really impressed. And that’s what did it for us really. We didn’t need to see anything else or go out in other conditions. She’s just built for the rough stuff.”

However, two years on, the owners are now looking to part with Bounder due to the demands of a young and growing family.

“With all the things our young children want to do, there’s just too much going on,” they told us.

The heads has access both from the cabin and the companionway

“We keep the boat in Lymington and have used her along the south coast and Cornwall, but we just don’t have the time to go on the kind of adventures we’d like. It’s all very well going from Lymington to Cowes, but that’s not enough for this boat.

“We’d love to think we could put her in a shed until we have more time but that’s not realistic. We’ve kept everything up to date and have had no problems with her. We’ve had some nice evenings on board with the kids, so our time with her has been amazing. But Bounder needs to go to a good home and be used. To any prospective purchasers, we’d say that if you want a safe, go-anywhere boat, she has an awful lot to give!”

If you can live with the limited size and number of the sleeping cabins, there’s not a lot we can add to that. It won’t suit everyone but for those who appreciate its legendary seakeeping and craftsmanship, little else can touch it.

In spite of the secure cockpit design, there are easy access points aft and on both sides

Seaward 42 specifications

MODEL: Seaward 42
DESIGNER: Seaward/TT Boat Designs
HULL TYPE: Semi-displacement
RCD: A (12 persons)
LOA: 45ft 3in (13.78m)
BEAM: 13ft 0in (3.96m)
DRAFT: 4ft 0in (1.22m)
AIR DRAFT: 13ft 11in (4.25m)
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 5.5l/nm @18 knots (broker supplied figure)
RANGE: 394nm at 18 knots with 20% reserve
CURRENT PRICE RANGE: £545,000 – £650,000

This article Second hand boat review: Seaward 42 appeared first on Motor Boat & Yachting.


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